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No Right to Die by Denied Spoon Feeding
National Review ^ | 07/10/13 | Wesley J. Smith

Posted on 07/11/2013 11:20:28 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM

NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE          www.nationalreview.com          

July 10, 2013 2:03 PM
No Right to Die by Denied Spoon Feeding
By  Wesley J. Smith

A Canadian woman directed that she be refused medical treatment, and indeed, that she be euthanized if she had Alzheimer’s and could not recognize her children. She has the disease and is spoon fed.  But the family wants that stopped.. From the National Post story:

According to Ms. Hammond, she is lifted into and out of bed with a hoist, spends her time virtually motionless in a wheelchair and is kept alive only through regular spoon-feeding. “She’s not taking it by choice, that’s clear,” said Dr. Andrew Edelson, Ms. Bentley’s doctor, who suspects the whole feeding process is purely reflex. “She doesn’t have the ability to make choice and if she had the ability to make choice, she would refuse; she’d clamp her mouth shut and nobody would try to feed her,” he said.

Under typical circumstances, Ms. Bentley would already be dead. Metro Vancouver has no shortage of seniors who have drawn up explicit end-of-life directives and do-not-resuscitate orders, and those are usually respected, according to Dr. Edelson. “I’ve spoken with a fair number of health professionals about this case, and everybody is dismayed, to say the least; we’re shocked that this is happening,” he said.

Baloney. She isn’t being forced onto medical machines, given unwanted CPR, or indeed, being fed by tube. She is alive because her body hasn’t shut down and she can eat and drink. Under these circumstances it would be shocking–and criminal–if a medical team withheld food and water from a helpless woman capable of–and actually taking–nourishment.

This is a classic case of mixing apples and oranges. People have the right to direct that medical treatment be denied, but spoon feeding isn’t medical treatment. It is humane care–the least we owe everyone. 

Are we now going to allow vulnerable patients to be denied food and water when the can–and are–eating? And can you imagine forcing medical staffers to be complicit in an intentional starvation/dehydration under these circumstances?

If she eats, she eats. If she drinks, she drinks. Nobody should have the power to order themselves starved in advance when they can take food and water through natural means.

The headline says that starving her–again, when she is eating on her own!–would be to allow her to “die with dignity.” Culture of death, Wesley? What culture of death?


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: moralabsolutes

1 posted on 07/11/2013 11:20:28 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

>> Under these circumstances it would be shocking–and criminal–if a medical team withheld food and water from a helpless woman capable of–and actually taking–nourishment.

Agreed.


2 posted on 07/11/2013 11:28:07 AM PDT by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
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To: wagglebee; little jeremiah

ping


3 posted on 07/11/2013 11:28:35 AM PDT by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
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To: Morgana; narses

Pro-life alert?


4 posted on 07/11/2013 11:29:06 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have IngSoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: Brian Kopp DPM
As-long as they are not force feeding her. I am guessing that she eats when presented with he food.

My Grandmother unfortunately (for her) lived till 101 and one nurses aid from Trinidad was so obnoxiously bossy that grandma refused to eat as a protest, till she left.

Then a few years later granny just refused to wake up most of the time, for >2years before death.

5 posted on 07/11/2013 11:34:48 AM PDT by sickoflibs (To GOP : Any path to US citizenship IS putting them ahead in line. Stop lying about your position.)
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

So, she eats and wants to eat, she drinks and wants to drink, but because she can’t hold the fork or cup herself, it’s ok to kill her?

Where is her family in all this?


6 posted on 07/11/2013 11:44:32 AM PDT by LadyBuck (Illegal aliens are like sperm. Millions get in but only one works....)
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

Slope meet grease


7 posted on 07/11/2013 11:46:46 AM PDT by frogjerk (We are conservatives. Not libertarians, not "fiscal conservatives", not moderates)
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

At least here in the states (I don’t know about Canada), one can make all those decisions ahead of time. If you do not want nourishment given that can be part of the over all orders that one establishes with ones doctor and power of attorney for health care.

If you want somethings and not others, say so. if you really and truly want nothing except palliative care, say so. Have the discussion with your doc. Make appropriate plans and put them in a legal document. Let your family know. That’s all it takes


8 posted on 07/11/2013 11:46:56 AM PDT by Nifster
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To: Brian Kopp DPM
I served as my mother's power-of-attorney. She had severe dementia. Her directions to me, well in advance, were no life-saving measures - including feeding - if she ever ended up in such a state. The nursing home was also well aware.

And when she did end up that way I carried out her wishes, would do it again, and I have the same stipulations in my own legal papers.

9 posted on 07/11/2013 12:03:33 PM PDT by gdani
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To: Nifster
Make appropriate plans and put them in a legal document. Let your family know. That’s all it takes.

Apparently that's not all it takes. Did you read the article? This woman in question had a living will. The nursing home shamefully refuses to honor it.

10 posted on 07/11/2013 12:07:14 PM PDT by gdani
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

In fact, after spoon feeding becomes unworkable, I have found from personal experience that by using a large, wide mouth straw, like the ones you can’t get with giant refillable soft drinks in New York anymore, voluntary feeding can continue with an Alzheimer’s patient for as much as an additional year. (Our hospice folks learned a few things from us.)

As a caregiver to my step mom, I would suck her food into the wide straw, then offer her the straw (bottom end), holding it up a bit so that she did not have to fight gravity to suck some in.

My dad and I used a patient lift to get her down to large Lazy Boy recliner with a couple layers of 3” memory foam mattress topper on top of it, in our family room each day.

That memory foam is great stuff and goes a long way towards preventing bed sore problems. We sewed a sheet cover to fit over the two layers of memory foam that we cut to fit the recliner. (and an “accident pad” on top of that to prevent soiling.)

The recliner allowed us to easily position her for eating, resting or sitting up with us all day. We would move her back to the hospital bed (with a similar memory foam set-up) next to dad’s bed for the night.

We managed to keep her comfortable and smiling to the end, which was, of course, our mission.


11 posted on 07/11/2013 12:44:59 PM PDT by EasySt (Time to build that gulch...)
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To: EasySt; gdani; Nifster; wagglebee; little jeremiah; narses; NYer; Jim Robinson
God bless you.

I can't believe FReepers on this thread are actually advocating euthanizing this woman. Food and water are basic human rights, not medical interventions that can be withdrawn at whim. Withholding food and water from a patient able to eat from a spoon is homicide. Feeding someone is not a "life-saving measure." Its simple human decency.

No health care worker or facility has any obligation under traditional Judeo-Christian medical ethics to assist a patient in suicide.

To claim otherwise illustrates once more the real dangers of radical libertarianism.

We better all wake up to this active euthanasia or soon we too are going to be coerced into a duty to die under ObamaCare rationing of care.

12 posted on 07/11/2013 1:02:09 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Brian Kopp DPM
Food and water are basic human rights, not medical interventions that can be withdrawn at whim.

How is setting forth one's specific wishes, in advance, in a legally-binding document, "at a whim"?

Withholding food and water from a patient able to eat from a spoon is homicide.

No - despite your hyperbole, it is not. Not when that person has instructed as much in their living will and/or with their power-of-attorney. People have a legal right, in advance, to refuse such measures.

Feeding someone is not a "life-saving measure." Its simple human decency.

My mother, who could no longer walk, talk, sit upright, feed herself & was constantly soiling herself would have a different definition of "decency".

13 posted on 07/11/2013 1:13:27 PM PDT by gdani
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To: gdani

you cannot ask others to kill you. Especially doctors should never kill on purpose.


14 posted on 07/11/2013 1:16:38 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

she wants someone to murder her.


15 posted on 07/11/2013 1:17:39 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

There is no euthanasia when the patient’s family let the hospital staff know that the staff’s health is dependent on the patient’s health. They generally do not have to be blunt about it, just drop several hints.

If they try bringing up the subject of euthanasia, act like you didn’t hear their question, but a different one:

“Your grandmother is suffering with her ingrown toenail. It would be best if she was allowed a natural death instead of having to continue to suffer.”

“Yes, you do have a very nice house there on Oak Street, very close to where your kids go to school. Conveniently located.”

They are not stupid people, so they usually get the message.


16 posted on 07/11/2013 1:17:54 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Best WoT news at rantburg.com)
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To: gdani

its murder.


17 posted on 07/11/2013 1:19:09 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: gdani
"My mother, who could no longer walk, talk, sit upright, feed herself & was constantly soiling herself would have a different definition of "decency"."


While mine also could no longer walk, talk, sit upright, or feed herself, and was also constantly soiling herself, and further had specified "no heroic measures or hospitalization" back when she was able, certainly did not think us indecent as we helped her to live as fully as possible and be as engaged as possible in a loving environment right up to her natural end.
18 posted on 07/11/2013 1:25:50 PM PDT by EasySt (Time to build that gulch...)
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To: GeronL
its murder.

No, it's not. Saying things over and over again do not make them true.

If it's murder, then why are there not thousands (millions?) of people in prison for carrying out their power-of-attorney duties in this way?

Why are there not thousands of attorneys out there being disbarred and/or put in prison for their role in drafting and implementing living wills?

Why are there not countless hospital and nursing home employees imprisoned for not force-feeding dying patients?

Because it is not murder.

19 posted on 07/11/2013 1:26:07 PM PDT by gdani
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To: gdani

just because its legal.... like abortion... does not mean its not murder


20 posted on 07/11/2013 1:34:39 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: gdani

Abortion is legal. Abortionists and those who procure them at present commit no crime.

Abortion is still murder.

Likewise killing someone by not feeding them, when they otherwise could assimilate food and water, is active participation in their suicide, if they are cognizant, or murder, if they are not.

Denying it does not change the reality of it. The proximate cause of death will be dehydration, not dementia. Death by dehydration in a patient who can swallow and assimilate water and food is by definition either suicide or euthanasia/homicide.

Verbal engineering always precedes social engineering. But it does not change reality.


21 posted on 07/11/2013 1:37:12 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: surroundedbyblue

Unbelievable comments on this thread.


22 posted on 07/11/2013 1:40:41 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Brian Kopp DPM
Death by dehydration in a patient who can swallow and assimilate water and food is by definition either suicide or euthanasia/homicide.

"Murder" and "homicide" are, first and foremost, legal terms.

Verbal engineering always precedes social engineering. But it does not change reality.

Indeed.

23 posted on 07/11/2013 1:46:00 PM PDT by gdani
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To: Brian Kopp DPM; 185JHP; 230FMJ; AKA Elena; APatientMan; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search
[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]

There is a gulf of difference between taking no more active measures to save life or cure illness (if a person desires not to have them and has legally arranged that), and being starved to death. A person with a "Living Will" stating "Do Not Feed Me or Give Me Water" is saying "Actively Starve Me To Death". IOW, such a person is asking others to murder him. No one is legally obligated to starve or dehydrate anyone to death no matter what papers have been signed; in fact if they do so, they are guilty of murder.

To make it crystal clear - a person can choose NOT to have surgery, drugs or other active medical measures, if they so choose. But nutrition is NOT a "medical measure" - it's like breathing air. Could a person leave some legal papers saying "don't allow me to breathe air when I can't talk anymore"? Food, water and air are not "medical intervention", they are simple life sustaining basics that no doctor can prescribe or proscribe.

There is one argument on the thread that if with holding food and water from someone is murder, then why are people who starve others to death not arrested and charged with murder?

Answer - because the culture of death has ascendency. In Germany it was perfectly legal to kill the "unwanted" - those who murdered (by whatever method) those considered "unwanted" - whether incurably ill, mentally deficient, psychotic patients, amputees, and finally Jews, gypsies, political opponents and so on - were breaking no laws at all. Never a possibility of being arrested and charged with a crime.

Because in Germany, it was not a crime to kill the unwanted.

Here it supposedly is still a crime (I guess) but due to culture of death, too many people turn a blind eye, and much of the medical profession and legal system not only ignore such murders, but assist and indeed, implement.

If anyone wants on/off any of my ping lists, please freepmail me.

24 posted on 07/11/2013 1:48:56 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

I agree. Hard heartedness and thus willful blindness are on the increase.


25 posted on 07/11/2013 1:51:33 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: gdani

“, and I have the same stipulations in my own legal papers. “

=

So do I. Took care of all that business about 5 years ago. Just let me go.

,


26 posted on 07/11/2013 1:57:15 PM PDT by Mears
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To: Brian Kopp DPM

Blinking is a reflex.

Opening one’s mouth to receive food is an act of volition.


27 posted on 07/11/2013 2:02:25 PM PDT by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: EasySt

You and your Dad are good people. :)


28 posted on 07/11/2013 3:51:50 PM PDT by Politicalmom (Liberalism. Ideas so great they have to be mandatory.-FReeper Osage Orange)
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To: Gene Eric; wagglebee; little jeremiah; Morgana; narses
"...Under these circumstances it would be shocking–and criminal–if a medical team withheld food and water from a helpless woman capable of–and actually taking–nourishment..."

Terry Schiavo - Shameful! ................................ FRegards

29 posted on 07/11/2013 5:45:03 PM PDT by gonzo ( Buy more ammo, dammit! You should already have the firearms ... FRegards)
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To: Nifster
At least here in the states (I don’t know about Canada), one can make all those decisions ahead of time. If you do not want nourishment given that can be part of the over all orders that one establishes with ones doctor and power of attorney for health care.

If you want somethings and not others, say so. if you really and truly want nothing except palliative care, say so. Have the discussion with your doc. Make appropriate plans and put them in a legal document. Let your family know. That’s all it takes.

I am right now in the process of drawing up a directive that will state that I will be given only palliative care if I come down with certain ailments (and severe dementia is one of them). I choose to not live under those circumstances.

Such a legal document followed by a trusted person with power-of-attorney can make it stick. It is my understanding that if a hospital will not follow those instructions, then the person with power-of-attorney can go to a court and make them do it.

30 posted on 07/11/2013 6:54:56 PM PDT by OldPossum
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To: OldPossum

If you live in California, you probably should get what is known as a POLST (physicians orders for life saving treatment). States are starting to recognize this document and take it is priority one because it is a written order by your doc saying what to do (in great specificity). Eventually all states will use this type of form because it is the standard at the VA and for Medicare. It is becoming more usual in all states and doctors and health care professionals are being trained on it.


31 posted on 07/11/2013 8:35:15 PM PDT by Nifster
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To: Nifster

I don’t live in California but many, many thanks for that information. I’ve made a note of it and will look into it.


32 posted on 07/12/2013 4:29:34 AM PDT by OldPossum
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